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Starting from Scratch – Part 2

scratch_beginnings

Today on The Bigg Success Show, we continued our discussion with Adam Shepard. Adam is the author of the book Scratch Beginnings, which describes his year-long real-life experiment to see if the American Dream is still alive. Last time, Adam told us about the initial stages of his experiment and what it took to begin his path toward independence. Let’s get back to the conversation …

georgeAdam, have you ever thought about becoming a Wall Street investment banker, losing all your money and turning to the government for help?

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adam_shepard
I have not.

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Battle Scarred vs. Battle Scared

battle You’re probably familiar with the term “battle scarred,” which refers to the scars from wounds received in combat. Most of us are fortunate to not have to engage in real warfare where the scars are visible (i.e. physical) and invisible (i.e. mental). Our battles are more esoteric so our “scars” tend to be only the second kind – mental.

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Today we want to talk about a different word – battle scared. It’s amazing what a difference that one “r” can make.

By our definition, “battle scared” means that the damage done in combat is so severe that the injured party doesn’t push on.

It’s possible to be battle scarred without becoming battle scared.

People who are battle scarred start with an open wound that leaves only a scar over time. For people who are battle scared, it’s as if the wound never closes.

Mentally, the battle is still fresh in their mind. So they’re unable to fight again today. Two people can engage in the same battle and experience the same thing. One pushes on to fight another day (the battle scarred) while the other can’t live with the memories of the battle (the battle scared).

An example: the recent financial crisis

We have an example of a battle recently – the financial troubles rolling through the economies of the developed world. We all may feel a little battle scared at this point because it is still so fresh in all of our minds. It’s important to pause and reflect so we’re only left with the scars of the battle.

Learn the proper lessons
“Stocks are too risky.”
“Playing the stock market is no different than gambling at a casino.”
“It’s the government’s fault.”
“It’s the banks’ fault.”

These are the wrong lessons to takeaway from this battle. They are the reactions of the battle scared.

“I took on too much debt.”
“I spent more than I took in.”
“I didn’t create a safety net for myself.”
“I focused too much on what I wanted now and not enough on my future.”
“I should have seen that stocks were risky.”

These are the right lessons to learn from this calamity. The battle scarred will come away with these things in mind.

Make the proper adjustments.
“I’m going to close out my 401(k).”
“I’m never going to invest in stocks again; they’re too risky.”
“I won’t take any risk ever again.”
“You can’t trust anyone.”

These knee jerk reactions are common among the battle scared.

“I’m going to have an emergency stash.”
“I’m going to get out of debt.”
“I’m going to learn to allocate my portfolio so I get decent returns for the risk I’m taking.”

The battle scarred will make adjustments, but they won’t go from one extreme to another.

Giving up gets you nowhere

We have to keep fighting. We have to learn the right things from every battle so we can make the correct adjustments. We should gain wisdom from the battles we fight. That wisdom will help us win the war faster with more certainty.

If we become battle scared, we fail. We fail to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves in the coming days. We fail to reach our full potential. We must resolve to learn from our battles and make the adjustments necessary to win the next one.

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We’re so glad you stopped by today! Come back next time to learn how to get on the radio as an expert in your field. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Overcoming Fear One Quote at a Time

quote
“Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.”

Swedish proverb
 
A problem may start out as a small little thing. But worry makes it grow. It becomes all consuming. You can’t stop thinking about it. Your heart beats faster. You can’t fall asleep or you wake up and can’t get back to sleep.

It follows you, even when you try to forget about it. It turns to fear.

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“Fear grows in darkness; if you think there's a bogeyman around, turn on the light.”
Dorothy Thompson

We’re afraid because we’re in the dark. We don’t know what to expect. The future seems so uncertain. It frightens us.

To get past that fright, turn on the light!

Gather some research. Study the issue. Ask for help. Do anything you can to create more certainty in the face of uncertainty.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

We fear things we think we can’t do. We fear those problems for which we don’t have a solution. We fear what we’ve never done.

Conquer fear by confronting it head-on. Take action. When you do something, you gain control. By gaining control, fear is diminished.

I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship.

Louisa May Alcott

When a storm blows through, there may be damage or there may not. But you faced it!

You learned from it – things you did well and things you would change. You gained confidence to tackle yet another situation.

We all feel fearful at times. Don’t let it consume you. Confront it head on with a plan of attack. Take action. Then learn. You’ll only become stronger!

 

Ben Franklin Got It Wrong

Change. A word that sparks fear in many people.

We work to get to that comfortable spot, and we want to stay there.

“Nothing is certain except death and taxes.”
Ben Franklin

We think he got it wrong, not in the message, but in the semantics. We think he should have explicitly included change as something that is certain, rather than making it implicit in his quote.  


Will you lead or follow?

Even when it’s change that we’re creating ourselves, it can be scary. But it’s especially frightening when it’s a surprise.

For example, picture Jane telling her boss that she’s accepted a new position. She’s going to experience change. But isn’t that more comfortable than Jane’s boss telling her that her job is being eliminated?

It’s better to be a leader of change than a follower.

Who’s in control?
However, you can’t always control change. What you can control all the time is how you choose to respond to it.

You can also try to anticipate it. For example, as technology continues to develop, change is occurring more and more rapidly. Isn’t it safe to assume that this will continue?

So you have a choice to make. You either develop the skills to anticipate change so you get ahead of it or you just respond to it, after the pain becomes too great to do anything else.

Bigg action item – Separate the change into fads and trends
There are fads and there are trends. Fads come and go, so don’t worry about them. Trends are long-term. Get on board with them.

Divide a sheet into two columns – one called “Fads” and the other called “Trends”.  In your chosen career, think about the things affecting your industry. Now start putting those changes into the appropriate column.

What will affect your future income? Something will – for good or for bad!

Is it a short-term phenomenon? Or is it likely to continue? You can position yourself properly by seeing the change coming.

What opportunities will be created? What skills will be important? Do you have them? Can you get them?

Develop a plan for what you need to do to position yourself to take advantage of the trends.

Where do I get this information?

We’ll look at two examples. Search for the name of your industry followed by the word “association”. For example, “beauty salon association” yielded a half-dozen or so associations in Google.

You can also subscribe to magazines for your industry, or just about any industry you’re interested in following. They’re often free, supported by the advertisers. Amazon has an excellent resource that lists magazines by industry. It’s an extensive list!

So there are a number of ways to get the information you need so you can embrace change rather than begrudge it.

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Are Good Looks an Advantage or a Disadvantage at Work?

A lot of attractive people complain that people assume things about them without getting to know them. It’s assumed that they’re unintelligent, superficial, and even arrogant.

You’ve been given the gift of physical attractiveness, which has to mean you’re lacking in other areas. In the social world, you’re just the pretty boy or girl.

But does that perception carry over into the professional world? Is there a bias against people who are good-looking?

 

Green Without Envy
Economists Markus Mobius of Harvard University and Tanya Rosenblat of Wesleyan University did a study to see how looks affected the hiring process. They divided participants into five groups:

  • Two of the groups never saw a photo of the candidate or the candidates themselves
  • The other three either saw the candidate’s photograph or in-person.

The groups who saw the candidates were much more likely to hire the more attractive candidate, even though the less attractive candidate was just as qualified.

These employers predicted that the attractive candidates would be more productive, and would be rewarded for it with higher pay.

Even Greener Pastures
Daniel Hamermesh, an economist at the University of Texas, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the economics of beauty. Dr. Hamermesh has focused on how beauty effects financial success in the workplace.

His research confirms the results of the study we just referenced – that beauty gains an advantage because the doors of opportunity open more frequently. So they make connections, learn skills, and grow professionally. Then they’re able to leverage that first opportunity into many more opportunities, which results in even higher pay.

He also offers little hope for the unattractive. His research has shown that spending money on things to enhance your looks is a waste. You’ll only get back about 15 cents in pay for ever dollar you spend.

Our bigg quote today is by an unknown author:

“We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty,
some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names,
but they all have learned to live together in the same box.”

The more colors you have, the more colorful your world can be.


Questions for you

Socially, we often hear pretty people complain that they’re discriminated against. But research seems to show that it works to their favor in the workplace.

From your experiences, do you think good looks are an advantage or a disadvantage?

Is there a difference between men and women? Are good looks more important in the workplace for men or for women?

How about age? Is this something you think affects young people more than older workers or vice versa?

What do you think of Dr. Hamermesh’s finding that it doesn’t pay to try to package yourself better? Do you think it makes a difference?

Share your thoughts by leaving a Comment.

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